Saturday, December 29, 2012

So This is the New Year... (for Lindsey, thank you for the inspiration)

It's almost the New Year and I figure we'd break some ice outside with what sort of resolutions we are making. All around us it's anything from changing personal habits to giving more to charity. What sort of resolutions are you making? People are increasingly re-working themselves out into new better versions every year- with surprising results coupled with promises forgotten come Valentines' Day. It's often said that in order to advert the problems of the present we have to learn from the struggles of our own pasts. Look back over the year and think about your lives a year ago.... What were you like a year ago from now?

Look back and see what happened this year... and I have to say 2012 was a sad year- there have been so many shootings- so much evil rampant in our own world- all spun from the deprivations of individuals. People who might have otherwise been like you are I, instead choose to pick up weapons and kill children and movie goers. In the end we learn that the only way change for the good will happen is through individuals wanting to want to change- to be different. Recognizing and becoming aware of the hurting need throbbing all around us and finding even little ways to meet the wounds with band-aides through any means possible. We never know what one little smile or act of persistent kindness produces.

It was said by Benjamin Franklin that the only weakness of a great democracy such as ours is not from some outside enemy but from within. From WITHIN. From people. Individuals. From simple lives and the goodness which can either shine or fester. We look out of our windows getting ready for work, or from the stained glass of our quiet, emptier churches and wonder what we can do- like if we were just to hold some event or put up some different, specific sign- then change would come and everything would be right. I think sometimes we forget the hurt and confusion all around us because either we cant hear it, we dont know what to do with it, or we rationalize it away. On Sunday, we hold SERVICE. I wonder what and whom we are really serving? We ought to be known by our love- no gimmicks- no bumper stickers- no t-shirts or new leather-bound Bible translations- but by our own broken human attempts at love. In the book of First John, the author speaks passionately about love, and especially about how PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR. How perfect love casts out fear.

This is powerful.

Think about what has happened in our own lives over the past year- how has the fear from those situations actively dictated how we live and treat people all around us? Did you notice what one of the first responses to the elementary school shootings in Con. was? Gun Control. Fear that this horrific event might happen again at a school near you- your son- your daughter- your sister- your brother- maybe even you, yourself.


FEAR is powerful- it twists the senses- it makes us forget what's in front of us and make us respond to self-conjured specters. It shouts with subtle persuasion how goodness is decadent and wrong is really right.

I learned something listening to the radio the other day- the phrase 'perfect love casts out fear' uses a specific sort of language which is only found one place else. The only other place it is found is when performing exorcisms of demonic oppression from people. Casts out. Is it really that love casts out fear? If so, how?

Through loving like Jesus does. Loving like we know we ought to- loving with all our heart, all our mind, all our strength. As we learn to live in and through LOVE our whole way we interact with and see the world changes.

We go from seeing the world as a reflection dimly to actuality clearly.

Everything changes because we ourselves are changing. We are growing up. We are becoming new creations- the old has gone, the new has come. Haven't you ever noticed how we treat children differently? They are like different, simpler creatures- then we suddenly change and we live wholly and completely different. Our whole lives are changed. All around us there are hurts- and we need to realize the hurts which God has cause to move us, and work together to help the people involved. Through working together, God's very Goodness- with his Kingdom and Power and Life is coming about.

So let me ask you,

What pain do you see day after day? Which wounds call you? Let's realize them together and get to work servicing- this is what church is- people gathered together who are known and defined by a perfecting Love which casts out all fear. We will soon find this is where Jesus also is, too. 

Like what you read? Join in with your own insights, stories and art- send them to Thanks and God bless -Ryan

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